Need help picking and finding bamboo

thisisme(az9b)August 5, 2012

I'm a vegetable gardener who loves to build trellises. In fact I'm a retired carpenter who likes to build all kinds of things. Buying wood and screws all the time is getting expensive. I sure would love to be able to grow my own materials.

I have done some reading and have a general idea of what I want and what I need to do. I even think I know what I want but don't want to screw up.

Here's the situation and the desired use....

I'm limited to growing in full Arizona sun. Which means temps between 100-114 degrees in the shade every day 4-5 months a year.

I'm willing to build a raised bed or some kind of barrier if needed to keep the bamboo from spreading.

I'm looking for bamboo that is thick walled and useful for constructing heavy trellises for tomatoes and beans. Perhaps even some melons and squash. I would also like to build some shade structures with bamboo.

From what study I've done I think PUNTING POLE BAMBOO fits the bill. So my questions are;

Is Punting Pole a good variety for this purpose in my climate or should I look elsewhere. If you where in my situation what would you do and where would buy the plants from?

If you click on the link below and look through the pages you will get an idea what I have done with wood. I want to go much bigger with bamboo.

Here is a link that might be useful: Some examples of what I have done with wood

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I'm not sure how the humidity is in your area but that might be a factor in growing certain bamboos.

The bamboos will probably need more water than in higher humid areas.

I personally would try one of the Bambusas, of which Punting Pole belongs, however, my Punting Pole Bamboo does not have really thick walls but then it needs a warmer climate than I have here also which could be a factor.

Oldhamii might be one to look into if you want really thick culms and the culm walls are relatively thick too.

The thickest culmed Bambusa I have grown is Bambusa
pervariabilis 'Viridistriatus' but was sold to me as Bambusa
eutuldoides 'Viridivittata' which is smaller but also thick culmed. B perv. 'Viridistriatus' is so thick you can use them as bats. Very thick walled. It is also a colourful bamboo but also a rare one so it may be a bit more expensive.

One thing to remember about bamboo, and I guess any plant for that matter, the plants can grow very differently in different climates and soils. I have taken divisions from my original Textilis bamboo and they all seem to grow a bit different, even when planted only yards apart. Amount of sun, amount of water, type of soil, fertilizer, and surrounding plants all contribute to how your bamboo will grow.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:22AM
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Hi kentuck_8b, humidity is typically below eight percent during the hottest part of the year. I realize bamboo may suffer here a little. That does not bother me though as long as it grows and produces useful material for constructing trellises and shade structures. I want it to have thick walls but I also want it to be somewhat flexible. Not like a baseball bat. I would like to be able to build some arches and curves with it.

If Punting Pole is suitable do you know of a reputable place that sells it? Any recommendations on how to plant it; ie best type of soil and how to keep it from spreading?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 7:04PM
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My punting pole has not spread to a diameter of over 8 feet in over 10 years. However, it does not produce numerous culms so unless you plant many plants, you may not have enough culms to build with for a while.

I bought mine from Tradewinds Bamboo Nursery in Oregon. Gib Cooper knows more about bamboo than most sellers out there.

Click Here For Tradewinds Bamboo Nursery

Tropical Bamboo Nursery & Gardens in Florida I've also had good luck with.

Click Here For Tropical Bamboo

I've bought from several other Bamboo Nurseries but these are two of my favorites because of price and plant size/health. Someone might have other suggestions for you.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 10:50PM
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Thank you kentuck_8b.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 3:59AM
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Mmm. I don't know if there are different wall thicknesses from different climates. But I built a large tiki hut trellis thing with a thatched roof last fall. I used mostly oldhami because it was what I had available. After the main parts were complete I found a few other kinds that were far better. Unfortunately the curb I liberated these stronger poles from belonged to some unfriendly people so I never found out what it was. But the oldhami had walls that were very thin and brittle. They cracked. And the wood screws I used for extra support often stripped out. The entire structure was obliterated by a tropical storm a few weeks back. But it was a great project and I look forward to using my basic design again using more permanent materials and methods. I will post some fun pictures if you want. We got married under that crazy tiki hut trellis thing. And it was awesome. But I won't be using oldhami next time.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 11:41PM
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The 'diameter' of the culm will vary with climate or situation that a bamboo is planted in. As I stated, I took divisions from a 'mother' plant and all have been smaller in height and culm diameter than the original plant...and some are planted only yards away, but they are in much different growing areas.

Culm 'thickness' is different and I have not noticed a difference in culm thickness on same-sized culms from different plants.

Oldhamii was also a disappointment for me as I thought it would be great for building, but the culms were brittle and thinner than I expected for a timber bamboo. I assumed it was because I used culms that were 3 years old, maybe I should have used even older culms, which is why I thought the culms were not tough enough. Older culms might be better for building.

I still think Bambusa pervariabilis 'Viridistriatus' is a good one and it looks like the culms may reach well over 2 inches in diameter. They are almost solid. I'm liking this bamboo more each day. It is also a very fast grower here.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:02AM
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So many things to say so i'll list them.
1. Constuction canes should be 10 years old. Older the cane, thicker the wall.
2. Ventricosa is thick walled but kind of zig-zag
3. Ventricosa clone x strongest bamboo that I know of, but starts out zig zag.
4. Captain Scott Goodwin of Port Canaveral makes gaffing hooks with clone x poles for catching big big fish.
5. Don't know heat tolerance for ventricosa, but it can take 15 degrees no problem.
6. You can keep the pole bent when its green as it dries to brown to shape it.
7. Oldhamii is a timber bamboo refer to number 1. on list.
I say you should grow 3 species for you needs. Multiplex fernleaf 15 degrees, Clone x 15 degrees, and Vulgaris Vittata. I say Vittata over green Vulgaris, because it's prettier and it'll grow in your zone.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 7:04PM
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yes we have a very big and thick bamboo here what do you want bamboo plants or bamboo pole

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 4:06AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

liza 143-
You can't use this Forum to try to sell stuff: it's prohibited by the Terms of Use. In addition, it's illegal to import bamboo into the U.S. without a permit and a year quarantine, so no one here in the U.S. would be interested in purchasing from you. If I see any more posts like this from you, I'll report them to the Webmaster and you will be banned.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 3:16PM
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1. Constuction canes should be 10 years old. Older the cane, thicker the wall.

Incorrect. The older the culm, the 'harder' the walls become, but they do NOT increase in thickness.

Ventricosa clone x strongest bamboo that I know of...

Not sure about this one since my Clone X is only a few years old, but it does not appear to be anywhere as strong or thick as Oldhamii or Moso or Henon...


    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:59PM
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